TLN bloggers not on summer break

TLN bloggers, like most committed teachers, won’t be lazing around the beach this summer. In fact, they’re just getting their second wind.

Renee Moore (TeachMoore) is considering the implications of a recently released Teacher Working Conditions Survey in Mississippi, where she serves on the Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Licensure and Development. Basically, it’s the leadership thing.

“The report highlights that teachers in Mississippi do not have as much control over our working conditions as we should have in order to provide effective instruction,” Renee writes. “More disturbing, however, is the apparent deafness or indifference of building level administrators to how big a problem teacher working conditions really are.”

Nancy Flanagan (Teacher in a Strange Land) runs headlong into a brain twister while reading a lengthy Education Week story headlined “Teachers Weigh In on Ineffective Colleagues.” The article, reporting on a new Education Sector survey of teacher attitudes, doesn’t drop this “little nugget” until the end: A little more than half of teachers surveyed this time said unions were ‘absolutely essential’ compared with about one-third last time.

“Fascinating,” Nancy writes. “Teachers boldly asserting that they know ineffective teachers and want them out of the profession—and then acknowledging that the teacher’s union has become an increasingly important partner in their professional lives. Doesn’t the party line go something like this: unions protect bad teachers? Isn’t there a little cognitive dissonance here?”

Ariel Sacks (On the Shoulders of Giants) reflects publicly on a private discussion in the Teacher Leaders Network daily chat group about the future of “brick and mortar” schools.(We’ll be posting some of that chat at our TLN Teacher Voicesblog later this week.)

“I am pretty certain that children need to develop social, emotional, physical and cognitive skills and understandings in the company of other people, and under the care of live parents and teachers,” she writes. “Then, when they have some experiences to draw from, they can transfer the knowledge acquired to other mediums, which allow for application and further development of the same skills and understandings.”

Bill Ferriter (The Tempered Radical), who kicked off our TLN Forum chat on learning futures with quotes from Clay Shirky’s book Here Comes Everybody, keeps pushing his own thinking about the evolution of virtual schooling in a new post, “Humanity Harmed by Technology?” He was somewhat surprised to learn that his sixth grade students weren’t all that keen on “digital learning spaces.” School is for hanging out with your friends.

“While they didn’t realize it,” Bill writes, “their opinions revealed another one of Shirky’s central conclusions about digital tools:  Technology will NEVER replace human interactions primarily because humans are deeply drawn to face-to-face interactions.”